Tuesday, November 29, 2022
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Thurrock Council leader throws down gauntlet over new Dartford Crossing

THE LEADER OF Thurrock Council, cllr John Kent is looking for backing from every councillor in Thurrock over opposition to the government proposals for a new Dartford Crossing in Thurrock.

The motion to be debated at full council on Wednesday November 25th reads:

"This Council remains opposed to government plans for a further river crossing in Thurrock and commits to continue campaigning, alongside local residents, on this issue.

Early in the New Year the government is going to start consultations on its latest proposals. We need to be ready for that and we need to reinforce our united opposition to any new crossing in our borough.

The last time we all voted on this issue was three years ago and we need to reinvigorate our campaign and prove to the people of this borough that we still standalongside them.

Over recent weeks there have been increased online discussions about these plans and residents whose homes and lives are under threat need to know exactly where their local council and their local councillor stands on the issue.

As people will understand, Thurrock Council has been involved in discussions with government about their proposals over the past year or so while ministers, the Highways Agency and to a certain extent, MPs have kept their heads down.

Well, the time for choosing sides is fast approaching. I can’t go into too much detail about the latest plans – I haven’t been shown them yet – but I can say I believe the government is still looking at two basic options for crossing the river, both in Thurrock.

They haven’t been listening to us.

First is what we’d still call Option A, close to the current crossing, although there seem to be some tweaks on what we were told before. I don’t think the tweaks change our opinions in the slightest – more pollution, no improved resilience to either the local are national road network, and concerns about creating new "pinch points" as six or eight motorway lanes shrink back to four.

Then there’s the Option C proposals. We think there will be three, but they all cross the river to the east of Tilbury and Gravesend. There is still some doubt about what happens north of Tilbury, but there can be no doubt any bridge crossing here will have to be twice as high as the QE2 bridge to allow ships to enter the Port of Tilbury and because of the added river width.

No matter what happens then, our Green Belt and our heritage will be threatened by tons of concrete and tarmacadam roads; no matter what happens noise and air pollution in and north of Tilbury will be unacceptable; and no matter what happens then, the centre and east of our borough will become susceptible to the same type of congestion West Thurrock is already used to.

"That is why I am asking every one of our 49 councillors to join with me on 25 November to say: We want none of the above. No fourth crossing in our borough".

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